Benjamin Morgan's "Quality of Life" out on DVD

Susan Gerhard June 16, 2006

While the Whitney Biennial brought Chris Johanson and “The Mission School” to international art world attention nearly half a decade back, this year, Benjamin Morgan’s San Francisco-made drama, “Quality of Life,” has been bringing the story of San Francisco’s underground street art to indie screens all across the world. A sleeper hit, the movie already has its own “making-of-a-phenom” book coming out in August (Soft Skull Press). This week, the DVD — featuring soundtrack with Modest Mouse, Mr. Lif, and Built to Spill — hits. The day before “Quality’s” DVD release party descends on 111 Minna, we caught up with Morgan.

Inspiration for the movie? Working in juvenile justice. “I realized just how backwards the justice system was. And nothing exemplifies everything that is wrong with this system like the War on Graffiti, which literally paints over the ‘problem.’”

Favorite graffiti sites on the web? Read on.

1. Graffiti Archeology
This is an amazing site. Graffiti is such a temporary, impermanent art form. All writers have are flicks and memories. This site shows the evolution of the public landscape, featuring specific walls (mostly SF) over time. Truly phenomenal.

2. Piece by Piece
Anyone with an interest in the SF graff scene absolutely has to see this amazing documentary. The film, which covers the past 20+ years in SF, is incredibly well-executed and on point. Their site has some great local flicks as well.

3. No
Anti graffiti passion and fanaticiscm at its best!

4. Wooster Collective
This is the international hub for the street-art scene. Wooster has always been an amazing site, but they have been going absolutely haywire lately, with video “how-they-did-it” features and constant updates from every corner of the globe. They have great international coverage and interesting and insightful perspective into the scene, as well as its corporate co-opting.

5. Popaganda
The world would be a better place with more Ron English billboards.

6. Quality of Life
Of course, people should visit our website for more info about the film (and the DVD release!).